LET THE SUN SHINE ON OPEN DATA

Posted on Mar 19, 2014 in Featured, What's New

In honor of Sunshine Week, the state Office of Information Practices (OIP) is pleased to shine light on how state agencies are responding to requests for government records, which are made under Hawaii’s Uniform Information Practices Act (UIPA).  Attached is a preliminary summary in MS Word (and the preliminary summary as a pdf)  based on information reported at data.hawaii.gov on the Master UIPA Record Request Semiannual Log for FY 2014 for formal record requests received by agencies from July 1 to December 31, 2013.  As of March 14, 2014, data had been submitted by 116 agencies located within 11 state departments, the offices of the Governor and Lt. Governor, the University of Hawaii, and the Judiciary.  Along with the summary of the Master Log data, OIP created several charts to help interpret and visualize the data.  The summary and charts may also be found on the UIPA Record Request Log training page at oip.hawaii.gov.

As the summary and charts show, a total of 3,414 formal UIPA record requests, and an estimated 553,836 routine requests requiring no UIPA notice, were made to the 116 agencies between July 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013.  (Chart 1)  Nearly 99% (3,375) of the requests were completed (Chart 2) and took an average of 8.03 workdays to complete (Chart 3).  Of the 3,375 completed requests, 35.5% were granted in full; 6% were denied in full or in part; 7% were withdrawn by the requester; 1% were abandoned and not paid for by the requester; and the agency was ultimately unable to respond to 56% of the requests, as shown in Chart 4A.  These results appear to be skewed, however, because most of the inability to respond data was entered by one agency, which received 238 requests where the requester withdrew or abandoned the request and 1,787 requests for records the agency does not maintain.  When that agency’s 2,597 requests are removed from consideration, then the revised Chart 4B shows that 778 requests were completed by all other reporting agencies, of which 59% were granted in full; 20.7% were denied in full or in part; 1% were withdrawn by the requester; 5.1% were abandoned and not paid for by the requester; and the agency was ultimately unable to respond to 13.5% of the requests.

The Master UIPA Record Request Semiannual Log data also shows that the actual search, review, and segregation (SRS) time incurred by agencies for UIPA record requests totaled 2,484 hours.  When copying costs were added to the SRS fees incurred, the gross fees and costs incurred by agencies totaled $33,678, of which only $14,155 in net fees and costs could properly be charged to requesters.  (Chart 5)  Because requesters received fee waivers in 2,868 of 3,375 completed cases (85%) (Chart 6) or may have abandoned/withdrawn their requests, they ultimately paid only $2,534 (Chart 5), or 7.5% of the $33,678 incurred by the agencies in gross fees and costs.

Complex requests totaled $2,358 of the net chargeable fees and costs, and only $445 was actually paid.  (Chart 7)  Each complex request took an average of 4.28 hours to complete, which was over six times longer than average of .67 hours needed to complete each noncomplex, nonpersonal record request.  (Chart 8)  While noncomplex, nonpersonal record requests took an average of 7.97 workdays to complete, complex records took twice as long, with an average of 15.7 workdays to complete.  (Chart 3)

The Master UIPA Record Request Semiannual FY 14 Log, containing data reported by each department as well as statewide totals, is found on the state’s open data website at data.hawaii.gov.  Members of the public can view the raw data without charge and can create their own charts, graphs, or other visualizations using their own computer programs or the tools available on the site.

In addition to the UIPA information being gathered by OIP through the Master Log, data.hawaii.gov features a wide range of databases from other state agencies, which in many instances have been turned into maps or charts using the tools available on the site for all users, including members of the public, to work with the open data.  Some examples of the information available include:

Open data from government agencies is an important part of the future of open government, and helps to provide easy access to public information, increase public awareness and participation, stimulate innovation with development of new analyses or applications, and promote government transparency and accountability.  OIP has been a leader in the effort to promote open data and played a key role in obtaining passage of the state’s open data policy (SB 632, which was ultimately enacted as Act 263, SLH 2013).  OIP is now working with the state Office of Information Management and Technology (OIMT) and various other agencies to implement the state’s policy by developing specific policies and procedures for state agencies to place more machine-readable datasets of public information online, where anyone can review and use the data without charge.

For the latest on open government news, check for these archived copies of What’s New articles that are posted here, or e-mailed upon request. To be added to OIP’s e-mail list, please e-mail oip@hawaii.gov.         

 If you require an auxiliary aid or accommodation due to a disability, please contact (808) 586-1400 or email oip@hawaii.gov.